Sadly, I don’t have great news to report on my debut in the British Open at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe.
Kitkat (Another Breakfast) warmed in beautifully for the dressage but unfortunately, after some great trotwork, things fell apart in the walk and canterwork, so that brought our marks down to a 58.1.
After doing a foot-perfect clear round in the showjumping it was evident when we started out on the cross-country that Kitkat was not happy.
It is very hard to get into any sort of rhythm from the beginning as the course is so undulating and he didn’t seem to enjoy the pelham I was using. He just didn’t go a yard from the start so I retired him after realising that his mind just was not on the job.
In hindsight (such a wonderful thing!) the championship course doesn’t really suit him as he is better when he can have a good gallop and get into a rhythm early on. It does seem to be a course that suits some horses and not others as the terrain is unique.
It was seriously frustrating and disappointing, but it happens with horses and it’s one of those things that you have to learn to deal with and then move on and look ahead. As they say, horses are great levellers!
I decided to take him cross-country schooling at Rosamund Green on Monday when it was all still fresh in his mind and by the end he was flying again, so hopefully it was just a blip that we can now put behind us.
First run with Leo
There was no time to dwell on Gatcombe though as I was having my first run on new ride Leo (Soltair Justice) at Smiths Lawn yesterday (Tuesday) in the novice. He did a nice dressage test for 33.5 and, considering he hasn’t been in a dressage arena since October, it was encouraging.
Being a big horse, he will be one more suited to tests in a long arena as he struggles a little in the small arena, but he is so willing and wanting to try his best!
He then jumped a very confident and classy double clear, finishing on our dressage score for 5th. For our first event together I was thrilled.
As much as you can get a feel for a horse at home, they can change so much at a competition so I now know a lot more about him and we can hopefully build on this for our next outing at West Wilts next week.
I am not eventing this weekend so have got some dressage lessons planned with Emma (Fisher) on Kitkat and Leo at the end of the week and will be riding out for my brother in the mornings (take a look at his new and improved website, www.harryfryracing.com).
Full report on Gatcombe in H&H out tomorrow, 8 August.